Twas a week before Thanksgiving and all through the house, every one was getting anxious – and hungry for turkey! Well folks, just one week to go before the big day! I apologize for being tardy on posting lately, I’ve been under the weather; but – not to fear, your stress free Thanksgiving is almost here! It’s all about the final prep leading up to Thanksgiving. Here are my tips for the next week:
Thursday (one week out):
- If you have a frozen turkey, take it out of the freezer tonight and put it in the fridge in a baking dish (it will release fluid as it thaws). I know it sounds like a long time, but a 15lb+ turkey will take at least 5-6 days to thaw, and you want to have 2 days to leave it uncovered for the skin to crisp up. If you’re not comfortable leaving it that long, you could stretch and push this to Saturday, but monitor closely to make sure the bird isn’t frozen!
- Start setting the table; as you read before, I know this sounds crazy but it will really take the stress off you next week when it’s all about cooking and entertaining. If you’re having house guests and you’re going to need your dining room table, try and set aside the linens, dishes and serve ware you will use for Thanksgiving, even if you can’t set the table quite yet. I love setting the table early not only because it gets one more thing out of the way, but also because you get more time to enjoy your beautiful creation! The table featured above is the one we set for Friendsgiving last weekend – 22 people strong!
Friday Before Thanksgiving
- Finalize that grocery list. Make sure you include all the food you need for you and your guests through Thanksgiving – breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and of course the big day. It can seem daunting, but take your time and prepare a good list; that will prevent twenty-five “last trips” to the store.
- Go to bed early – tomorrow is an early morning!
Saturday Before Thanksgiving
- Grocery shop – and do it early! You know why – that three page list isn’t going to shop itself, and if you’re like me and you hate the store and you hate crowds, getting up early can be your best friend. I generally do big grocery shops at one of the larger grocery stores I may not use throughout the year, and I go when they open at 6am. I also like going to the bigger stores for the big shop because they simply have more stuff: more brands, more volume, more selection. There’s nothing worse than having a three page grocery list and not finding like two things which you have to go hunting around for. Save the time, and go to the bigger store today.
- Sort your groceries – if you have two fridges and freezers (like a garage fridge), sort your groceries in the order you’re going to use them. It will save hours of endless digging through the fridge over the next week
- Start a list – that’s right; you forgot something; I forgot something; we all forget things. Start a list now of either last-minute things you need to buy (like rolls), or things you forgot or need to add.
Sunday Before Thanksgiving
- Brunch! You’re about to have a crazy week; treat yourself – go to brunch, watch football, enjoy endless Mimosa’s and relax!
Monday Night Before Thanksgiving
- Thaw soup and chicken stock. Just take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge. There is nothing worse than going to make your bird and the stock is still frozen, so take it out now and make sure it’s thawed (plus you’ll need some for your casseroles and make-ahead dishes anyway).
- Start your game plan. You’re what? You’re game plan. Remember in the last post we talked about having a detailed plan for the big day? Tonight, start thinking about the hour-by-hour play for the big day. When does the turkey come out of the fridge to rise to room temperature? How long does it need to cook for? When am I serving the appetizers? This can be as simple as a written plan on the back of an envelope, but I actually plan it out on a calendar like this:
I know, it seems like a lot – but believe me, it will really help when you’re entertaining and stressed!
Tuesday Before Thanksgiving
- Prep, prep, prep! Do all your chopping and prep for your make-ahead dishes and casseroles. Take the time to get everything chopped (and measured, if you can). Organize with plastic bags or containers and label them for the dishes you’ll make tomorrow. Doing this today can cut hours out of your cooking time tomorrow.
- Unwrap your Turkey. Whether you’re using a previously frozen or fresh turkey, you want to unwrap it, pat dry with a paper towel and put it back in the fridge uncovered. This will allow the skin to dry out which will lead to a much crispier skin. Don’t worry, it won’t dry the meat out, just the skin!
- Catch up day! Catch up on anything you’re behind on!
Wednesday Before Thanksgiving
- Cook! I always try to make the Wednesday before Thanksgiving the biggest cooking day. Make as much as you can. The prepping you did last night will make this much faster and easier. So, crank up the music, and get in the kitchen! Everything you do today is one less thing to do tomorrow, giving you more time to focus on the bird, the Macy’s Parade, Football, and visiting with family and friends! Plus, you can make most of the mess while no one is around. Focus on the casseroles, make-ahead gravy, potatoes, and dessert.
- Prep your cocktail garnishes – and perhaps try one, just to make sure they’re delicious 😉
- Go out to dinner – you spent today cooking, and you’re going to spend all day tomorrow cooking. Go to dinner and relax – you got this!
You’re on track for the most relaxing Thanksgiving day’s yet! Enjoy the time with your friends and family and have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Keep an eye out for more recipes in the coming days including my Orange & Rosemary Glazed Turkey! Good luck everyone!